Old school Greek artisan

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram From inception up until the setting up process, how did you start your business?I arrived in Australia on board the ship Aurelia on July 21 1959. My brother Vasilis and my sister were already here. The next day I went to work at my brother’s cobbler shop that was on Exhibition St. After about one month I started working at a car factory but at the same time I would help my brother at his shop when I would take off from work. Very soon with the help of my brother I opened up a small shop in Coburg. In about a year’s time my parents came from Greece and my father took over the shop as he was the true artisan. I was helping him with the clients until noon and afterwards I would work my shift at the factory. Finally, in 1963 we moved to the then Collins Place (currently Exhibition St.) and for the last 46 years I’ve been operating my store at 7 Exhibition St. Did your Greek Australian background help you or impede you during your early days?My coming to Australia was more of a positive experience. I was poised to work hard and succeed. My customers were from all walks of life, from the Victorian Premier Sir Henry Bolte to a street cleaner. But they all treated me with respect. With the Greek community I lost touch for a number of years due to my busy workload, however, that didn’t stop me from professing my Greek identity.You’ve been operating your store in the CBD and especially in the Greek precinct for over 50 years; can you tell us about the past and the present?Well the main difference between then and now is that back then we were cheerful and carefree; we were happy with just a few things whereas nowadays we want it all and still it’s not enough. Back then a family would be sufficed living in one room, now we want just one room to place our TV in it.How is business currently?Business has been and still is very satisfactory. And my customers are quite impressed when they hear that I even receive orders from as far as London.Arguably very few craftsmen such as you remain in Melbourne and in Australia. What does the future hold for your business?Nowadays, we have lost our patience and we want everything done immediately. In the old days for someone to learn the trade they had to work as an apprentice for many years, most of which without pay. And this is how I learnt the trade next to my father. Now people want to see what they can gain instead of what they can offer. There are very few remaining shoemakers who possess the traditional skills of the trade and who are trying to maintain the trade. Most of the people are content with the quick, easy and hasty solution.last_img

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